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VOSH IN LATIN AMERICA Nelson Rivera, OD Vice President, VOSH International ALDOO/CLOO Asociacion Latinoamericana de Opticos y Optometristas Equivalent of AOA in Latin America Asociacion Latinoamericana de Programas y Facultades Optometria Equivalent of ASCO In Latin America

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Nelson Rivera, OD

Vice President, VOSH International

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Asociacion Latinoamericana de

Opticos y Optometristas

Equivalent of AOA in Latin America

Asociacion Latinoamericana de

Programas y Facultades Optometria

Equivalent of ASCO In Latin America


Over 20 Countries represented

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Makes sense to team up with

Groups which oversee Optometry

In Latin America

A lot of lobbying going on

Perhaps similar to what Optometry

was in the USA in

the 1960’s-70’s

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Currently, working to create awareness

with the population in general

Ophthalmologists’ Resistance

to advances in Optometry

But that is changing….

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Countries with Optometry laws/acts

in the books.





Costa Rica


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Countries actively lobbying

for creation of Optometry laws



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Helping Latin America

Some issues:

1. The NEED for help

2. The available resources

-Number of Optometrists locally

-General Infrastructure

-Cooperation of local authorities

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  • Capital City: Mexico CityArea:1,958,200 sq km/756,061 sq miles Population: 101,000,000

  • Per Capita Income: US$7,310.00

  • Number of Optometrists: 500

  • Number of technically trained: 12,000

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  • Missions 2006

  • San Cristobal (VOSH VA)

  • Etzanlan( VOSH WI)

  • San Carlos (VOSH MI)

  • Sta.Maria Oro (VOSH Sta.Cruz)

  • Baja (VOSH IL)

  • Colima (VOSH CO)

  • Sonora (VOSH AZ)

  • Oaxaca (VOSH IA)

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  • Schools of Optometry (4)

  • UNAM- Mexico City

  • IPC CICS-Mexico City

  • IPN- Milpa Alta

  • Aguascalientes

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  • Capital City: San JoseArea: 51,100 sq km/19,730 sq miles Population: 4,100,000

  • Number of Optometrists/Opticians: 300

  • Only 350 University Trained

  • 50 Empirically trained

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  • Optometry School

  • Universidad Latina

  • 4 year Optometry Program

  • 2 yrs Optician/4 yrs Optometry

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  • Capital City ManaguaArea: 129,494 sq km/49,998 sq miles

    • Population: 5,200,000

    • Per Capita Income: US$910.00

    • Number of Optometrists/Opticians: 115

    • Only 15 with University training

    • 35 Empirically Trained

    • 65 technical school trained

    • No Optometry schools.

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  • Cooperation VOSH, UNESCO

  • Also Local Health & Education Depts

  • Screening Children Ages 4-7

  • Pilot Project in Granada Dept

  • 178 schools

  • Over 5000 children screened

  • Eyeglasses given to about 105

  • Examined about 400

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  • Missions 2006

  • San Juan del Sur (VOSH CT)

  • Corn Islands (VOSH NECO)

  • Nandasmo (VOSH NE)

  • Granada/VERAS (VOSH Int’l)

  • Matagalpa/Esteli (VOSH FL)

  • Cardenas (VOSH NEWENCO)

  • Rivas (VOSH KY)

  • Chinandega (VOSH FL)

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  • Capital City: TegucigalpaArea:112,090 sq km/43,278 sq miles Population: 6,700,000

  • Per Capita Income: US$1190.00

  • Number of Optometrists/Opticians: 100

  • Only 30 with University Training

  • 70 Empirically trained

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  • Missions 2006

  • San Pedro Sula (VOSH IN)

  • Tela (VOSH IN)

  • Tocoa (VOSH KY)

  • Roatan (SVOSH UAB)

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  • Capital City: Guatemala CityArea: 108,890 sq km/42,042 sq miles Population: 13,900,000

  • Per Capita Income: US$2,450.00

  • Number of Optometrists/Opticians: 330

  • Only 70 with University Training

  • 135 with Technical training

  • 125 Empirically trained

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Missions 2006

Guatemala (VOSH PA)

Guatemala (VOSH OR)

Jalpatagua (VOSH ON)

Camanchaj (VOSH MI)

Sayache (VOSH PA)

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  • Capital City: San SalvadorArea: 21,040 sq km/8,124 sq miles Population: 6,500,000

  • Per Capita Income: US$2,450.00

  • Number of Optometrists/Opticians: 165

  • Only 15 with University Training

  • 150 with Technical Training

  • “some” empirically trained

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Missions 2006

Sta Ana/San Miguel(VOSHNECO)

Apopa/Suchitoto (VOSH NECO)

San Salvador (SVOSHNSUCO)

San Salvador (VOSH CA)

FUDEM- Permanent Clinic

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  • Capital City Quito

  • Area 283,520 sq km/109,467 sq miles Population 12,000,000

  • Per Capita Income:US$2,630.00

  • Number of Optometrists: 280

  • Number with Technical Training: 320

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  • Missions 2006

    El Floron (VOSH OH)

    Guayaquil (VOSH Sta Cruz)

    Nabon (VOSH OR)

    Porto Viejo (VOSH MN)

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  • VOSH (University of Guayaquil) Ecuador

    New Chapter

    7 Optometry schools in Ecuador

    Good possibility to create permanent clinic at Univ of Guayaquil Hospital staffed by local OD’s

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  • Ecuador – July 15-21, 2006

  • VOSH Santa Cruz (Quebec)

  • Univ of Guayaquil University Hospital

  • Guayaquil Rotary Club

  • 2900 Patients seen in 6 days.

  • Late September, rotary saw another 1134 patients in 3 days.

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  • Capital City: LimaArea: 1,285,215 sq km/496,222 sq miles Population: 27,219,264

  • Per Capita Income: US$2,610.00

  • Number of Optometrists: 50

  • Number of technically trained: 400

  • Number of Opticians: 700

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  • Missions to Peru 2006:

  • Abancay, Peru (VOSH NE)

  • Coya, Peru (VOSH MI)

  • Carjamarca Peru (VOSH IL)

  • Manchay (VOSH SOS)

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  • VOSH SOS Eurohispano

  • Local VOSH Chapter

  • Works in conjunction with the Rimac Rotary (Lima)

  • Very active chapter

  • 7 missions 3000 pts seen in 2006

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  • Capital City: AsunciónArea: 407,000 sq km/157,143 sq miles Population: 5,585,828

  • Per Capita Income: US$1,280.00

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  • Missions 2006

  • Asuncion (VOSH KY)

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Capital City: Sucre(gov’t center)

Largest City: La PazArea: 1,098,580 sq km/424,162 sq miles Population: 8,800,000

  • Per Capita Income: US$1,100.

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Several technical Optician/Optometry Programs

In Santa Cruz (Eastern Bolivia)

In La Paz (2nd Capital)

Univ. Filadelfia-ONLY Certified school at this time

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  • Capital City: Buenos AiresArea: 2,776,890 sq km/1,072,157 sq miles Population: 37,812,817

  • Per Capita Income: US$4470

  • Number of Optometrists:400

  • 236 practicing/164 pending certification

  • Number of Opticians: 5000

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  • A few Optometry Programs

  • Universidad de Buenos Aires

  • Universidad Nacional de La Plata

  • Program runs 4 yrs.First 2 yrs Optician

  • Last 2 yrs Optometry program

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Helping Latin America



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Helping Latin America

Countries with greatest resources:

1.Costa Rica



4. Argentina

5. Peru

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Helping Latin America

Costa Rica currently does not allow

Many missions in their country

Mexico does. VOSH gets requests

For VOSH missions all the time.

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Helping Latin America

Guatemala is good. VOSH PA

has a permanent clinic there.

Some of the rural indigenous

Populations underserved.

Nicaragua has lots of need.

Very little infrastructure so

Not much local support.

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Helping Latin America

HondurasCouple permanent clinics

there including VOSH IN in

San Pedro Sula.

Country also has a lot of need

Second only to Nicaragua

In Central America

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Helping Latin America

Peru is a good country for

Missions – but stringent customs

Regulations are an issue.

Ecuador is an excellent place

to set up missions. There

is need and also good

Local support

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Helping Latin America

Argentina will be good.

There are very large segments

of people underserved in this

large populous country

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Helping Latin America

Bolivia shows some

promise as good mission

destination. And it is probably

the neediest country in

all of South America.

Paraguay is second.

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Helping Latin America

It is a large and populated area

Spanish spoken (except Brazil)

Shorter travel time for volunteer

Minimal Jet Lag

Overall decent infrastructure

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Helping Latin America

Key Issues:

-Trying to help the neediest

-Empower/train locals provide

services to locals year round

-In NO WAY do we want

to interfere with private

Optical businesses.